Bazaar, a one-year-old Pakistani startup, has raised $30 million in a Series A round led by Silicon Valley-based early-stage venture capital firm Defy Partners and Singapore-based Wavemaker Partners. The round, which is Pakistan’s largest Series A, brings Bazaar’s total funding to $38 million, making it one of its best-funded startups.
Global investors also participated in the round, including Acrew Capital in the United States, Saison Capital in Japan, Zayn Capital in the United Arab Emirates, B&Y Venture Partners in the United Arab Emirates, and a Silicon Valley Valley-based growth fund. Indus Valley Capital, Global Founders Capital, Next Billion Ventures, and Alter Global participated as existing investors. Several angel investors participated in the round, including current and former executives from Antler, Careem, Endeavor, Gumroad, LinkedIn, and Notion.
“What Bazaar has accomplished in the last year is astounding. We are blown away by the speed and resiliency with which they build and deploy. As Defy’s first investment in Pakistan’s burgeoning tech ecosystem, we believe Bazaar is on the verge of establishing a category-defining company for the country,” said Kamil Saeid, Defy Partners’ partner.
Bazaar’s mission is to establish a retail operating system in Pakistan. Bazaar’s B2B e-commerce platform and digital ledger product Easy Khata aim to simplify and grow the country’s 5 million MSMEs by enabling them to seamlessly procure inventory, manage their bookkeeping, and access financial services. Bazaar’s multi-product offering unifies a range of products and services for small merchants, including commerce, accounting, payments, lending, invoicing, and inventory management.
“Since 2017, we’ve been investing in FMCG B2B marketplaces across the region. We’ve been impressed by Hamza and Saad’s customer-centric approach to product development and their ability to learn and execute quickly over the last year. It’s unsurprising that they’ve received such positive feedback from customers and partners. We’re thrilled to partner with Bazaar as they establish market leadership and digitally transform Pakistan’s retail ecosystem,” said Paul Santos, Managing Partner at Wavemaker Partners.
Bazaar’s early results and growth have been phenomenal, propelling the company to the forefront of the retail space in a relatively short period of time. Its business-to-business e-commerce marketplace now lives in Karachi and Lahore, Pakistan’s two largest cities. Its digital ledger product Easy Khata is now available throughout the country. Since their inception, they have served over 750,000 merchants.
Bazaar has a highly engaged and loyal customer base, with a 90 percent retention rate and monthly growth in wallet share. The high level of engagement and retention is due to the company’s intense focus on simplicity and delight in its products. Bazaar has recently completed a closed beta test of its latest fintech offering: a buy now pay later option and has seen phenomenal results, doubling its customer wallet share and achieving close to 100% repayment rates.
Bazaar intends to capitalize on the $170 billion fragmented retail industry, which is largely offline. Additionally, this segment lacks access to formal financial services in a country with the world’s third-largest unbanked population. Simultaneously, the country is undergoing a sea change due to exponentially growing digital penetration facilitated by affordable smartphones and mobile broadband availability. Bazaar’s mission is to catalyze these fundamentals and provide a diverse suite of offerings to build a digital ecosystem for this industry and meet the technology and financial needs of small merchants.
Saad Jangda and Hamza Jawaid founded Bazaar in June 2020 with the personal mission of bringing together and cultivating talent in Pakistan and the diaspora to create a platform that further enables entrepreneurship in the country. Before joining Bazaar, Saad worked at Careem as a product manager for ride-hailing and food delivery products. In contrast, Hamza worked as a management consultant at Dubai-based McKinsey & Company. The two met in high school and have remained best friends ever since.
“Bazaar is pursuing a sizable opportunity with the ultimate goal of establishing a generational narrative in and about Pakistan. In a country with incredible talent and enormous market opportunity, it’s past time we created an inspirational story that brought together the best talent in the country, who can go on to create many more such stories in the future,” the founders stated.
Bazaar intends to use the new round of funding to expand into additional cities across Pakistan, diversify its product portfolio, and scale its financial services offerings.